Review Blog

Jul 15 2016

The summer we saved the bees by Robin Stevenson

cover image

Orca Books Publishers, 2015. ISBN 9781459808348
(Age: 11+) Recommended. Bees, Alternate families, Grandparents, Families and relationships. When Wolf does a project about bees dying in Canada, he little realises that his 'hippy' mother will take it to heart, sewing bee costumes for the twins, Saffron and Whisper, and having the whole family get into a van and do a trip across the country spreading their bee message through guerilla theatre. The stage is set for a funny book about relationships and family on a road trip, a journey in which the cracks pulling them apart are finally brought to the surface.
Wolf does not want to dress up as a bee and perform in front of strangers, one of his sisters, Whisper, usually quiet, has not spoken for days, and his older step sister, Violet, has brought her boyfriend along after being told he was not welcome. Wolf's mother will not listen to any of their concerns, and when the van breaks down, Ty and Violet decide that they will catch the bus to Nelson, where Violet's grandma lives. So all five set out on a ten hour journey to someone who does not know they are coming.
When the parents finally follow them to Nelson, some hard talking ensues making sure that mum finally understands what the children feel and a resolution of sorts is arrived at.
Readers will recognise family situations where the parents want something and include the children as a matter of course, leaving them out of the decisions. The parents think they espouse alternate views but are really just as narrow in their focus as those parents they deride, and it takes a major event to make them see how they have alienated their children.
The parallel to bees makes this a fascinating read, as the narrator compares his own family with colony collapse disorder. Everyone must play their part to ensure the family works like a well behaved beehive.
Fran Knight

BUY IT NOW ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
Indie Book Awards 2017
CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 shortlist
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 shortlist
School Library Association Information Book Award 2017
2017 UKLA Book Awards shortlists
International Children's Book Day 2nd April, 2017
Branford Boase Award 2017 longlist
Children's Book Award 2017 shortlist
Infographic: Teen reading habits
Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2017
National Simultaneous Storytime 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates